Yesterday I made the unfortunate return back to Buffalo, school work, and cold weather after spending a week in Orlando, Florida. The reason for my trip was to attend a journalist convention. But also, because the convention just so happened to be about 15 minutes away from where my Mama lives with my Aunt Linda, Uncle Richie and my three little cousins, Dionisio, 10, Immanuel, 5, and Hannah 2. While the conference took over the majority of the time that I was there, it still managed to become one of the best weeks, ever.
I arrived late Tuesday night; my aunt and Mama picked me up from the airport. After the 15-minute car ride we came home to a very silent house; everyone was sleeping. Which I guess at around 11:30 at night is a good thing when you have young kids. And it was probably the only time that week I’d experience what I’m sure my aunt considers a foreign friend. Anyway, it had been a long day since hours before that I had spent time editing at The Spectrum office and then attending the three classes that followed. Mama had already prepared my side of the bed with two pillows next to where she slept on nothing but mattress. It was time to call it a night. (And yes at practically 20 years old, I still sleep with my Mama every time I visit even though there are at least two other vacant rooms. And this is also the case when she comes to Long Island. – I told you we were close).
I’d be lying if I said this was one of her guilt-trips because I wouldn’t have it any other way- snoring and all. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the future after I get married and such. I’m sure my husband won’t mind resorting to the couch during her visits. Anyway, guilt-trips must be an art perfected by all grandparents. They know just the right degrees of getting you to abide by what they say or tell you to do no matter how much you want to oblige. They just make it impossible for you to say no to them because if you even think about saying otherwise, the mere thought alone is enough to make you feel horribly bad. Mama has got this down to a science.
She is not used to my eating habits even though it’s something she’s been aware of for a long time. I don’t get hungry until hours after I wake up, but to her because I wait so long to eat, she thinks I just simply don’t do it. Due to this, whenever Mama served me food, it didn’t matter the time, or that she’d given me enough that my uncle couldn’t even finish, I would have to eat it. Just to make her happy, no matter how full I was, or not even close to hungry I felt. If it means putting her mind at east, I will gladly do it. I probably gained 10 pounds during my stay.
Also, you think that since we were under the same roof for a week that our phone calls would be put on hold, right? Wrong. It’s bad enough forgetting to call her one-day while at school, or seeing her missed call appear on my cell phone. But to hear her voicemail saying how she asked me to call once arriving at the conference to ensure that I had made it OK, feels equivalent to disappointment. Even when we’re in the same state, she is constantly worrying about me. It’s the cutest thing. Of course since hearing that message, I didn’t forget to call the other times telling her I arrived at the hotel where the convention was held.
But I felt the worst on Saturday. The Spectrum adviser also attended the conference, and on Saturday night when it ended, wanted to go to dinner with me. I felt horrible not spending a night with Mama, especially during dinnertime but she seemed OK and understood when I told her what my adviser wanted to do. But, it turned out my adviser didn’t just want to get dinner; she wanted to ‘hang out.’ So we ended up walking around City Walk, which is just outside Universal Studios. Mama called three times in what was probably a two-hour time span, before we had even eaten dinner. She left a voicemail each time. My adviser even took notice of it. Don’t get me wrong, you all know how much I love my Mama, but continuously having to ensure her of what we were doing, where we were, that it was just my adviser and myself, what time I would be home, (which was later then expected, and in turn produced another phone call and message) was a bit much. Nonetheless, I’d do it all again the same way just because it’s her nature, and she only wants to make sure that I’m OK.
The best guilt-trip, or worst, depending on how you look at it was on Sunday. The conference had ended that morning and I was finally free to a day and a half of relaxation and most importantly, retail therapy. Mama and I hurriedly made our way to one of my favorite stores in Florida, DeeDee’s. We unfortunately in New York don’t have it and whenever I come down it’s a must that I do some shopping there. I was ready to spend some money, because I needed clothes (though by looking at my closet one might disagree), had been a while since I last bought something (well OK, maybe not that long), and was in DeeDee’s after all so I didn’t have another choice (This is the truth).
As we eventually made our way to the register I was calculating the total and embracing how much it would come out to be. I knew that in our trips before Mama had always paid for my things, but this time was different. She had already paid for my plane ticket, which I told her it was for my birthday so she wouldn’t have to get me anything more. But when the time came to hand over my credit card, Mama made sure the only card that would be swiped would be hers. I argued and pleaded, but it was to no avail. Mama actually managed to guilt me into buying me clothes. Is that not true talent or what?
And of course the next day when I had to switch out the suitcase that I came with for a bigger one because my new purchases didn’t fit, Mama asked if I could bring two suitcases. I told her I didn’t want to because it was unnecessary and I didn’t want to carry two. We got all of my things into a bigger one and I was all packed. That night Mama’s sister came by and slept over. Mama made sure that when it was time to sleep, her sister slept upstairs, and I got the coveted spot in her bed. We both slept horribly, tossing and turning, and not wanting the morning to come. When I woke up at 6 a.m. I found her in the living room filling a second suitcase entirely with food. I told her I didn’t need anything, that there were in fact supermarkets in Buffalo and that a lot of the things she had gotten I already had. It goes without saying that I returned to Buffalo with two suitcases in hand.
Despite it all, if it weren’t for grandmothers and their guilt-trips I wouldn’t have had such an amazing time. The conference was extremely beneficial. I learned tips on how to stand a part in the job market, hot to get hired, and received invaluable advice and guidance from experts in the field. It definitely helped steer me in the right direction for what to do and where to go after I graduate. And spending time with my family, especially Mama, was the perfect break from school, (even if I did spend a lot of time doing work.)
Have any of you ever felt guilt-tripped by your grandparents or a family member? And what are your plans after graduation? Are any of you doing anything to prepare for it now?